Battling back after freak injury

A FORMER herdsman who was nearly killed after being kicked in the stomach by a cow has today told how he finally feels in control of his life.

A FORMER herdsman who was nearly killed after being kicked in the stomach by a cow has today told how he finally feels in control of his life.

Dean Sutton, 47, said he hated his life being controlled by doctors since he developed pancreatitis following the accident 15 years ago.

But that was before the granddad, of Church Road, Old Newton, near Stowmarket, took part in an expert patient programme which empowered him to self-treat himself and feel confident about his health.

Mr Sutton said: “When I was first ill I spent 19 weeks in a London hospital and 16 weeks after that in Ipswich Hospital.

“Hospitals are great institutions if they can make you better but if you've got to live with your illness then they are not the place.

“Before the accident I had a very active job and then the next moment I was fighting for my life and there was no way I could be active again. It felt awful.”

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Then last year Mr Sutton heard of the Expert Patients Programme which was being run by Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT), and he signed up.

During the six-week course he learned, along with 15 others, how to take control of his own condition, looking at core problems including pain, mobility and depression.

Mr Sutton added: “I think this is one of the best things that has ever happened in community health because it empowers a person who is ill to fight for their rights.

“Some people are so institutionalised by their illnesses and I find that pitiful. If the doctor tells them to do anything they will, but that is not life, you need power yourself.”

Peter Moore, who developed the Expert Patients Programme in the Eastern region, said: “Long-term conditions can seriously affect someone's quality of life.

“This programme gives people the skills to unlock their own self care potential and not fall into the trap of doing more on good days and less on bad ones. It gives them the confidence to take more control of their conditions which will ultimately give them a better quality of life.”

An Expert Patient Programme will start on February 26 in Felixstowe and there will be a course in Kesgrave from February 27 specifically for people with coronary heart disease and one in Claydon from March 19 for carers. To book a place on the programme or for further information call 01284 757763.

Have you taken control of your life following an accident? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail

Expert Patient Programme

The Expert Patient Programme is a six-week course for people with chronic or long-term conditions

The course is delivered by trained and accredited tutors who are also living with a long term health condition

It aims to give people the confidence to take more responsibility and self-manage their health, while encouraging them to work with health and social care professionals

Course topics include healthy eating, dealing with pain and extreme tiredness, relaxation techniques and coping with feelings of depression

SOURCE: Experts Patients Programme